Ever wonder about that strange stick thing to the left of your steering wheel?


I know, I know – the flashing arrow has its own heartbeat, but I assure you, it’s not witchcraft and is perfectly safe to use.

Actually, that flashing arrow is called a turn signal and the stick thing is called a turn signal lever.


Now that you know, let’s learn when to use this non-satanic, non-Armageddon-producing, newfangled contraption:

When should you engage the stick thing?

– Just before turning left* or right.

*left: also not related to witchcraft

– Just before changing lanes.

Note: This includes if you are changing lanes incessantly, for no apparent reason, in a line of barely-moving traffic.

– Just before deciding to abruptly stop in the middle of a bustling city street because you’ve found a good place to parallel park.

Note: Congratulations, woo-hoo; we’re all happy for you. Now please use your turn signal so nobody rear-ends you. After all, that would be a party pooper for everyone.

When should you not engage the stick thing?

– Just before thwarting a terrorist plot (it might blow your cover).

– Just before you flatulate.

– When you need to balance your checkbook.

Pretty easy, right? Let’s take a quick quiz to see what we’ve learned

1. The stick thingy is…

a. Tantamount to the four horsemen of the apocalypse.  

b. Engaged via the lever to the left of your steering wheel.

c. A crafty tool to initiate the next great space expedition.

d. Just another phallic representation of mankind.


2. You should engage the stick thingy…

a. When you suspect the vehicle next to you is a car bomb.

b. Before you make a long-distance phone call.

c. Just before you cut off the guy next to you because you’re in a huge rush and he should understand that.

d. At your flimsy whimsy.


Answers: If you answered b to question #1 and c to question #2, you’re right. Otherwise, I’m sorry, but you’re an idiot.

Ok – let’s continue. Now we’ll learn how to engage this absolutely non-sorcerous, irrelevant-to-the-second-coming-of-Jesus, fresh and funky doohickey.

Step 1: Stretch. After all, you don’t want to hurt yourself while performing this taxing procedure.

Step 2: Think, is this a situation wherein I should engage the stick thingy?* If the answer is yes, proceed. Otherwise, go do whatever the hell you want. *if unsure, see examples above

Step 3: Rotate your wrist to a comfortable angle. I prefer 85 degrees, but it’s a personal preference so I’m gonna go ahead and let you take the reins on this decision. Spread your wings and fly!

Step 4: This is where it gets tricky. Decide which direction to gently push the lever until you hear it click. You can either:

a. Push the lever Down. Do this if you are turning left (toward the hand that makes an “L” …as in Leotard).

b. Push the lever Up. Do this if you are turning right (toward the hand that makes a backwards “L” …as in dratoeL).


 Note: This concept may be a bit difficult to grasp at first, but with a little practice and a can-do attitude – well, to quote the great Dr. Seuss, “Kid, you’ll move mountains.”

Step 5: DO NOT PANIC. Up until now I’ve prepared you for this moment with my continual reminders that this device is not an instrument of witchcraft. The clicking and flashing you are experiencing is not the result of a demonic possession nor is it an indication that the apocalypse is surely nigh. Also your car is not a transformer – sorry dude.

What’s really happened is you’ve successfully signaled your first turn, lane switch or abrupt stop before parallel parking. Congratulations, give yourself a pat on the back! This might spare you an accident or two, and will also help you to avoid coming off as what I like to call a Ron Blagojevich (a jackass) out there on the open road. Now maybe you should consider removing the fake plastic balls from the back of your truck – just a suggestion.


About erinobrien26


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